I am willing to wager that new life will be pumped into
the stalled, failed Smallpox Vaccine Program due to monkeypox. My guess
is that the govt. will push the vaccine on health care workers first, then
Monkeypox might be the "best thing" that could happen for the
Smallpox Vaccine Program.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
board at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=emergingdiseases
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health
From: Jim Rarey <email@example.com>
To: Distribution list suppressed <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: National Programs to Vaccinate for Smallpox Come
to a Halt
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003
National Programs to Vaccinate for Smallpox Come to a Halt
By Donald G. McNeil, Jr
June 19, 2003
ATLANTA, June 18 - Government officials said today that both the
civilian and military smallpox vaccination programs had virtually come
to a halt, the military program because it has vaccinated everyone it can
and the civilian program because few people volunteered for it.
Officials also said that of the 493,000 people who had been vaccinated,
the rate of dangerous side effects was lower than predicted.
"I take that as proof that our screening succeeded marvelously,"
said Col. John D. Grabenstein of the United States Army surgeon general's
office, who was in charge of the military's inoculation.
Although eight people had heart attacks after immunizations and three
died, it is unclear whether the deaths were coincidental, said officials
at a conference here today on immunization policy. The conference was convened
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The heart attack victims were middle-aged, and several had clogged
arteries, diabetes or other risk factors like smoking. There were no deaths
from encephalitis, eczema vaccinatum, progressive vaccinia or the other
side effects predicted last year based on studies from smallpox vaccination
drives in the 1960's.
The military has inoculated 454,856 personnel, nearly 90 percent
of them before the invasion of Iraq and is now vaccinating about 1,000
a week, which Colonel Grabenstein called "maintenance." State
health departments have inoculated only 37,608 civilian emergency health
workers and are adding about 100 more each week.
President Bush announced last December that the country would vaccinate
up to 500,000 civilian health workers as a first line of defense against
a terrorist smallpox attack. White House officials said there was evidence
that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq either planned to use smallpox as
a weapon or could have given it to terrorists.
But the program got off to a slow start and Dr. Raymond A. Strikas,
director of smallpox preparedness in the centers' immunization division,
said volunteers dropped off sharply after late March.
Dr. Strikas cited several reasons:
¶With a quick victory in Iraq, Americans felt the threat had
¶The heart attacks and cases of inflamed heart muscle led the
centers to ban immunization for anyone with heart disease on March 25.
¶Nurses and others resisted immunization until a law to compensate
them if they were hurt was passed; it was not signed until April 30.
¶SARS and monkeypox competed for state health resources and
"What we are in now is what we call the natural pause between
Stage 1 and Stage 2," Dr. Strikas said, with Stage 2 being the 500,000
Phase 3 would have extended vaccination to the general public, he
said, "but there's been relatively little clamoring for that."
Asked if the centers were disappointed that so few had volunteered,
he said: "We accept where we are, given the circumstances. We can
make this work."
The smallpox vaccine, Vaccinia, is the most dangerous vaccine, and
health experts predicted it would cause serious adverse reactions in one
in 19,000 to one in 71,000 people and would kill one or two in a million.
But they predicted brain inflammations or the uncontrolled spread of vaccinia
pox, not heart attacks.
The government ordered large supplies of vaccinia immune globulin,
an antidote for bad reactions. It was needed only three times, instead
of the roughly 50 times that the 1960's studies would have predicted.
About 125 women who were pregnant or became pregnant were inadvertently
vaccinated, despite screening, Colonel Grabenstein said. Thus far, there
has been no vaccinia in fetuses, and miscarriage rates have been normal,
though they are still being followed.
In the past, there were reports of myocarditis and pericarditis inflammation
of the heart and the sac surrounding it from Australia and Finland, but
they used more virulent vaccinia strains, doctors said.
Heart inflammations were not identified in the 1963 and 1968 American
studies that experts consulted last year when planning the immunization
drive, said Dr. Juliette Morgan of the National Immunization Program at
Vaccination did seem to increase the risk of myocarditis in the military
vaccines, Dr. Morgan and Colonel Grabenstein said. Of the 18 cases that
have been most studied among 53 possible ones, all were young healthy men
who developed chest pains and abnormal enzyme levels; all seem to have
recovered. That was 3.6 times the number that might have been expected
to develop myocarditis anyway.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company